Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, moment, Photography, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q325. At the moment I die or when I fall asleep, does the world cease to exist?

A. Who, or what, dies or falls asleep when you die or sleep? When everything is empty, which of ‘I’, ‘death’, ‘sleep’ and ‘the world’ is not empty? Saying that everything is empty means that all of them are empty, too.



However, when your sleep is not empty, the places such as your bed, your room et cetera where you sleep are not empty, either. When they are not empty, things and people related to the places are also not empty. When the things and people related to the places are not empty, other things and people related to these things and these people are also not empty. If we keep expanding in this way, we reach the conclusion that if your sleep is not empty, all the world is not empty, either. So, ancient masters would say that when even a grain of dust is not empty but real, all the world is real.


Therefore, saying that the world is empty but your sleep isn’t makes no sense at all. When your sleep is not empty but real, the world is also real. When your sleep is empty, the world is empty. To sum up, when you think that you fall asleep, the world exists. When you, however, think that your falling asleep is empty, the world is empty as well. Whatever things may happen, whether they exist or not depends upon your view.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, God, Happiness, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, Religion, root, self, student, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q304. My life is still full of troublesome problems even though I practice Zen meditation. How can I be perfectly free from them?

A. There is no one who has no problems at all in the world. For a joke, it is said that even Buddha and God have a lot of troubles all the time because people don’t follow them and do a lot of bad things against their teachings. If you were perfectly free from troubles, the monotony of life might be your serious trouble.


You should know that Zen practice doesn’t change what happens to you but your view of what happens to you. As mentioned repeatedly earlier, everything is empty and neutral. Whether it is good or bad, useful or harmful, is in the eye of the beholder. Try to see everything as neutral even though you have not realised the truth. Why don’t you see your problems as good omens of good fortune to come? Why don’t you think that you are paying in advance for what you will enjoy later? When your view is changed, your thoughts are changed. When your thoughts are changed, your acts are changed. When your acts are changed, what happens to you will also be changed.




Student: “How can I get rid of enemies?”

Master: “Why don’t you make them your friends?”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway